Light imagery is a very important aspect of Romeo and Juliet. There are many references to light and dark in the children’s relationship. The light imagery is a recurring theme in the story. It is very important in setting the mood in their relationship. The depiction of light and dark is often jumbled in the story. Sometimes light is good and dark is bad, and more often it is the other way around.
In the balcony scene, when Romeo was swearing his love to Juliet, she says “O swear not by the moon, th’inconsistent moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb, lest thy love prove likewise variable.” (2.2, line 110) In this quote, Juliet is telling Romeo not to swear his love by the moon, because it waxes and wanes constantly, and she did not want his love to be the same way. This quote condemns night time because of the moon and its changes.
On Romeo and Juliet’s only night together, they pretend that the sun rising is just a reflection of the moon. “More light and light, the more dark and dark our woes.” (3.5 line 36) This quote from Romeo is a direct example of reverse light imagery. Because they can only be together at night, and Romeo must leave for exile at dawn, Romeo and Juliet’s troubles become worse, or darker by day, and the mood is lighter for them at night.
When Juliet is preparing to be married to Paris, and her and the friar devise a plan to help her and Romeo escape to Mantua together, the friar says “and that very night shall Romeo bear the hence to Mantua.” (4.1, line 117), and “I’ll have this knot knit up tomorrow morning”(4.2, line 24) show once again how Romeo and Juliet are happy at night than they are during the day, because they can escape together at night, and during day they must face their families who do not understand their love.
Light Imagery is one of Shakespear’s most common conceit in Romeo and Juliet. It is unique in this play because often, night is the time of safety and happiness because they can see each other, while day time is dangerous and sad because they can not be together.